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Meet the ‘secret weapon’ that helps distribute money during the COVID-19 pandemic

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AP Photo/Steven Senne
A passerby walks along a nearly empty street in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood of Boston

The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted damage throughout the U.S. To guide the flow of emergency funding for the people and businesses in New England that need the most help, the federal government has turned to Northeastern’s Global Resilience Institute, known as GRI.

“GRI is our secret weapon,” says Jim McPherson, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force Leader for Region 1 of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “They’re doing a service to our country.”

The Northeastern institute has received funding by FEMA to help each of the six New England states identify areas of need and provide the documentation necessary to qualify for federal emergency funding. Both steps—defining and documenting the needs—have been complicated by an emergency that is unprecedented.

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